Since becoming a full-timer 6 years ago, I now host approximately 9 months of the year on the central coast of California in state parks. After my 33 year career in firefighting I thought I had seen and heard it all. Boy, I had just hit the tip of the iceberg! Everyone has come to know my term “genetically declined campers”; This is in no way meant bad in any way, but just to describe some folks with absolutely NO common sense whatsoever.
It seems every time I turn around something weird, hilarious or even adventurous comes along. The central coast has a draw on some “different types” of campers — Not just your every day tent-camper or RV’er, but “different” campers. I’ve seen and experienced so many things I finally even wrote an eBook on it.
I couldn’t pass the opportunity up not to mention I had received a bunch of requests for such. In my career I thought I had dealt with all the 5150’s (a law enforcement term for the mentally unstable). Man was I wrong, as I had not seen them all! Not even close, let me tell you!
I like camp hosting as I have dealt with the public my whole career in both firefighting and law enforcement and find as a host the “adventures” continue to make the full-timing life and hosting very entertaining for me. Hosting here on the central coast is anything but boring and mundane.
Now when I say I meet some different campers I mean it! I met one gal from Las Vegas named Melanie. She was in her early 30’s and when I first met her all she was wearing was a diaper! She was in the campground with her dad and let me tell you she sure drew a crowd. Everyone loved her, even the seagulls! I don’t think she liked them though! Here’s a picture of Melanie who definitely made my eBook! (Picture at left).
She sure was a sweet gal and very friendly to say the least. Her “dad” said she loved the cool beach weather!
Now at the one campground I host, the entrance station sits right off the beach. When you drive down into the campground all you see is the Pacific Ocean! The guys pull up to us at the kiosk and ask “How far are you from the beach”?? True story! Our jaws dropped and all we could do is point toward the beach and ocean. He could not have missed it unless he was blind! He then looked that way and replied “oh about that far eh”? I ducked to the back room as I could not hold the laughter! This is one of the genetically declined camping buddies I mentioned.
What made it even more hilarious was when he asked “When I head north from here which side of me will the ocean be on?”.
I replied “If it’s on your right you are in very serious trouble!”
Not only do I get to meet some “different” campers I also get to see some very interesting RV’s, many of which I have previously never encountered in my 20+ years of RV’ing before full-timing. This one (to the left) has to be one of the scariest so far!
One thing I’ve noticed since hosting is that all kinds of people have come up asking to borrow many items. Everything from salt, sugar, TP, blankets, you name it! I feel like asking them, “Did you remember to bring your tent or RV”? I spent several hours looking around my campsite for the hidden Camping World or Walmart sign. It’s there, I just know it is, so I’ll keep looking and I’m sure I’ll find it.
I had a young girl wake me up late one night about midnight and said she had a cat under her trailer and asked if I could do anything. I said yup I can, go back to sleep! Well the guy (her dad) approached me the next morning during my camp check and explained a bit more. They pulled their 5’ver out the storage lot in Fresno and headed for the beach. They stopped in Kettleman City and while fueling he heard a cat crying. He looked up and saw a grown cat jump out from under his trailer and run off across the highway. Oh well must be a local stray. They arrived here around 11:30 pm and got all set up. As they were all trying to nod off to la la land they heard several cats crying! He traced the meows to the underbelly of his 5’ver in the rear area. He had to take some screws out and low and behold he found a litter of kittens! He then realized the adult cat in Kettleman was “momma”. Well he had animal control come out to fetch the kittens. Check your RV’s for Stowaways! I am a camp host not an animal control dude so don’t wake me up at midnight to chase cats!
I was woken up once at 1:30 am by someone who wanted to buy firewood. I opened the door with my hair standing straight up and one eye open. This person was standing next to the huge lit sign that read “NO WOOD SALES AFTER 8 PM”. I growled at him like a bear as I pointed to this huge sign. He then said “Does that mean no”? I said “Uh huh”. He then asked “Oh, did I wake you up?” I replied “kindly” – “NO sir you did not. This is my normal appearance and I stay awake all night waiting for people like you who cannot read!” Good lord! Where do these people come from??
Now who says camp hosting isn’t entertaining? Here on the beach it’s all dry camping and only a restroom and no showers, except for the cold outdoor showers normally used by the surfers and beach-goers upon leaving the beach. One day I was walking around the corner of the restroom to look out over the ocean and happened to run smack dab into a woman who was in her early 30’s stark naked taking a cold shower! I slapped my hand up in front of my face (peaking through my fingers of course) and asked mam what on earth are you doing!? In a heavy European accent she replied “taking a shower”. I guess they do this in some places in Europe. I told her that is NOT allowed here and if Mr. Ranger sees you, you might end up in deep trouble! I then told her please get a towel or clothing right away as the crowd was growing rapidly! You can only imagine the look on Firedude’s face when I walked around the corner and almost ran into her!
Now camp hosting goes way beyond the campground. some of the local places you get to visit! Now this one really caught my eye as well as made me chuckle pretty good. In fact I was still chuckling while placing my order! It’s a place called “Areo Dogs, Home of the flying wiener”. Ya know it’s kind of like what Forrest Gump says and it applies to full-timing and camp hosting. “Life is like a box of chocolates and ya never know what you’re gonna get”! Here’ the flying wiener restaurant.
For you practical jokers, don’t get any ideas here! A family came in to tent camp. They set up their site and went to the beach for the day. The other part of the family came in later and got their site, and as a joke got another one, then completely moved the other site to the other location and when they returned they came to the office (before their family could catch them) to report all their stuff and tent stolen. We knew nothing of it so a Ranger was summoned to take a report of the theft. As the Ranger arrived so did the other family members. All in all it was pretty funny to most except the Ranger! He kindly told them he was not amused and refused to refund the extra site they had paid for and came close to inviting them to leave!
Full-timing and camp hosting to me are a never ending adventure. Some tell me they’ve hosted for years and never experienced the things I write about. Dianne O’Keefe my co-moderator can verify that these stories are very real, as her and her husband Terry have experienced the “coastal” campers of a “different” kind.
Hey, even the ground squirrels get stressed here in the summer with the place packed. They don’t come out much as they are about as popular as seagulls over your dinner table in the evening. Even so my squirrel buddies need to de-stress after a long hard summer season of camping! Here’s my buddy Rocky on my picnic table getting a massage from his gal friend after a long stressful summer/camping season. (Picture at right).
When I found myself writing my book I had to many times get up and walk away as I was in tears from laughing so hard! There is never a shortage of entertainment on the central coast of California! One time I received a phone call to Kiosk (happens on a regular basis by the way) in April and the caller says “Hi! We’ll be coming there in mid July. Can you tell me what the weather will be like on July 16th”? I politely replied it’s usually overcast and in the mid 60’s and the caller asks “No, no will it be sunny, rainy, windy and what will the night time temps be”? Whew! I couldn’t resist once and said well…. “The sun will rise that morning and most likely set that same evening and we could possibly have hurricane force winds, we’re just not sure yet”. I paused. The caller hung up! Too funny! Good grief! It was never in my job description to be a meteorologist! Those guys can’t forecast a week ahead so how am I supposed to tell you 4 months off!? Well as you can see Firedude never has a dull moment. If it weren’t for the crazy adventures, life as a host here would be totally boring. I guess then again it’s the firefighter in me, in that firefighters thrive on the unknown!